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January 2008 January 31, 2008

Posted by Anne in Uncategorized.

After what seems like an age for Christmas, I am back!

Have spent more time this month with the scientists discussing how they contribute to the analysis of the data, both in the setup of samples and beamlines and in processing the data to produce as accurate information as possible for the users. I have even been taken back to schoolgirl maths and relearnt integration calculus! Sheets of scribbled explanations, graphs and diagrams are produced to help me understand. For me, these are precious works of art in themselves, without the fluency of these delicate marks I would have no comprehension of this complicated new language.

I also saw a variety of the detectors that are used on the beamlines and watched how they are setup and calibrated.

detector1.jpgThe Germanium detector, checks the strength of the xray and the intensity of the patterns. It is used on the spectroscopy beamline. A small device which emits xrays is used to check the machine. The CCD detector works like a camera and creates organised patterns of the xrays, and the scintillator detectors shown here can be installed singly or as an array, and is used to count the dots on each pulse of light.

Other detectors which are built in these labs are so minute they can only be successfully assembled under a magnifying lamp, where the gold tape which carries the signal from the detector to the amplifier is positioned with patience and delicacy.

I feel at home in these labs, I can relate to the materials and tools used here and wonder if they could be used in the final pieces.


Coincidentally, there were some images of the detectors used at Cern in the newspaper this week, these are much larger than those at Diamond, but the component parts form fascinating symmetries and patterns. These inspire me further and next month I am hoping to be able to look inside the detectors and to use some of these same materials in my own work!



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